Trump pushes back against John Kelly over border wall

WASHINGTON – President Trump insisted Thursday that his vision for a border wall with Mexico remains unchanged despite efforts by his own chief of staff to downsize expectations by...

WASHINGTON – President Trump insisted Thursday that his vision for a border wall with Mexico remains unchanged despite efforts by his own chief of staff to downsize expectations by suggesting the president wasn’t “fully informed” when he first proposed the project on the campaign trail.

Some Democrats who met with Chief of Staff John Kelly on Wednesday say Kelly told them there are parts of the border where a wall isn’t needed and that Trump was uninformed on the wall during the campaign.

On Thursday, Kelly told Fox News that Trump has gone through an “evolutionary process.”

“I pointed out to all the members that were in the room that they all say things during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed,” Kelly said.

Early Thursday, however, Trump was having none of it. He began tweeting at 6:15 a.m. that nothing has changed with the wall – including who will pay for it.

“The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it,” he tweeted. “Parts will be, of necessity, see through and it was never intended to be built in areas where there is natural protection such as mountains, wastelands or tough rivers or water…..”

Ten minutes later, the president re-upped his demand that Mexico foot the bill.

“….The Wall will be paid for, directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement, by Mexico, which has a ridiculous $71 billion dollar trade surplus with the U.S,” he wrote. ” The $20 billion dollar Wall is “peanuts” compared to what Mexico makes from the U.S. NAFTA is a bad joke!

“The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it. Parts will be, of necessity, see through and it was never intended to be built in areas where there is natural protection such as mountains, wastelands or tough rivers or water…..”
– @Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

The presidential blowback comes adid attempts by Kelly and others to craft an immigration package that could pass both houses of Congress and head off a possible shutdown of the government on Saturday. The cost and scope of the proposed wall is a key element in any legislative deal.

“….The Wall will be paid for, directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement, by Mexico, which has a ridiculous $71 billion dollar trade surplus with the U.S. The $20 billion dollar Wall is “peanuts” compared to what Mexico makes from the U.S. NAFTA is a bad joke!”
– @Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

Kelly went public with his view of the project in the Fox News interview only hours after meeting with Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

“Campaign to governing are two different things,” Kelly said. “And this president has been very, very flexible in terms of what is within the realm of the possible.”

“There’s been an evolutionary process that this president has gone through… and I pointed out to all the members that were in the room that they all say things during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed,” Kelly said.

Kelly said Trump has “adjusted the way he’s looked at” a number of issues, including his strategy in Afghanistan and toward DACA, the Obama-era program that shields undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation.

As for the wall, Kelly said experts talked to Trump about how there “are places where, geographically, a wall would not be realistic.”

On Trump’s insistence that Mexico pay for the wall, Kelly said: “In one way or another, it’s possible that we could get the revenue from Mexico but not directly from their government.”

As for a deal with Democrats over DACA, Kelly said Trump wants 700 miles of additional border wall and $20 billion in funding.

 

 

Source: USAToday 

Featured Image: Getty Images 

Inset Image: AP Photo/File 

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